When we first learned about Stress Awareness Month, we thought: “Who needs a reminder about stress? We’re well-aware of its existence most days!” Well, April is not a time to “celebrate” stress but a time to increase public awareness about the causes and repercussions of stress.
Read on for our favorite ways to deal with stress, signs to watch for — and what it really means.
What Does Stress Mean?
Stress is a completely normal part of being a human, just like breathing, digestion and the beat of your heart. We’ve evolved to be hard-wired to experience stress as a way to stay safe when danger happens. (Stress can be positive as well as negative, like when it motivates you to hit a deadline.) In today’s world, most of those “dangers” are more perceived than literal, and your “fight or flight” response doesn’t know the difference.
Within the body, your adrenals manage stress. These almond-shaped glands sit atop your kidneys in your lower back region, and they release hormones (including adrenaline and cortisol). Your adrenals get some support from the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the brain. Together, they form the HPA axis, helping you manage whatever life throws your way.
Normally, stress happens like this:
- There’s a danger, and you react. Your body switches into “fight or flight” mode.
- You escape to safety, so your body can switch back into “rest and digest” mode.
- You stay chilled out in this mode until the next danger happens.
But sometimes we stay in step 1, which can feel like trying to go on with your daily life while a fire alarm is blaring.
How Can I Recognize Stress?
Stress Awareness Month is a good time to assess your own stress levels and learn to recognize the signs. (Stress and immune health are connected, too!)
Here are a few signs to notice:
- Changes in sleep
- Changes in productivity
- Changes in appetite
- Clenched jaw or tight neck
- Trouble focusing
- Feelings of uneasiness or worry
- Bodily tension
Make sure you always talk to your health-care provider about any changes in your health.
Ways to Deal with Stress
Some ways of coping with stress are healthier than others. Use Stress Awareness Month as a chance to swap out some of your less-than-ideal coping strategies for these:
- Sweat it out. Exercise is a great way to release stress, as well as mood-boosting endorphins.
- Let it flow. Creative outlets can help you let go of stress, too. Try journaling, doodling, painting or singing — whatever inspires you.
- Visualize less stress. A meditation practice can help you learn to better manage stress, and visualization exercises work by “faking it til you make it.”
- Talk it out. Whether it’s a trusted friend or a licensed therapist, don’t hold in your feelings and stresses.
5. Start your day with adaptogens (like red ginseng). These ingredients actually help you adapt to stress over time.* Good Morning Sunshine™ Coffee + Adaptogens gives you the energy you need to make it through your to-do list while helping you fight fatigue with more than just caffeine.* Each pod is infused with the time-honored adaptogen red ginseng. Treat yourself to really good coffee that does more, in honor of Stress Awareness Month!*
6. Prioritize sleep. When you’re well-rested, you’re better able to handle life’s daily stresses. Make Hello Dreams™ Sleep Strips with Melatonin & Calm Down™ herbal blend part of your evening routine. With more than melatonin, each one helps you fall and stay asleep, to wake up rejuvenated.*
Our products are formulated to help you optimize your energy all day and night. Good Morning Sunshine™ and Hello Dreams™ work like an energy management system, to help you start and end your day feeling like your best self!* During Stress Awareness Month and all year round, focus on managing stress and energy to make the most of every day.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.